One of the Best Things You Can Buy Yourself

Everyday I get asked a question, “Doc, what can I do to help myself at home?”Exercise Ball

I have to tell you, I LOVE that question.

See, coming to see someone like me is like entering into a partnership. I help you in the office, you help you at home.

As you can probably imagine, it does not always work out that way. You get home with the best of intentions and then work needs something, dinner needs to get made, and before you know it, it’s 11:00 and you wonder where the day went. Before you know it you are back in my office a few days later telling me that you felt good for a day or so but now it is back. My goal is to give you a simple solution that you can do at home in a short period of time.

The number one thing that you can do at home is work on your core.

Now there is a common misconception is that the core is only abs. While the abs are part of it, your core is made up of: abs, legs, buttocks and low back.

If you want to get serious about protecting your spine and preserving all of the awesome work that I do, yes I know how that sounds, then I strongly recommend that you consider buying yourself an exercise ball. Take a look at this one from Amazon. Exercise Ball -Professional Grade Anti Burst Tested with Hand Pump- Supports 2200lbs- Includes Workout Guide Access- 75cm Balance Balls

As for sizes, 65cm is the norm for most people. Smaller people can go with the 55 and larger people can go with the 75. If you need help deciding, let me know and I will help you pick the proper size.

There are not many body parts that you cannot strengthen on an exercise ball. From stability work for your core, to stretching muscles, to strength and flexibility, the exercise ball is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can buy.

While you are getting the ball, I would strongly recommend a Core work out book as well. This book, also sold on Amazon Balance Ball: Core Cross Train comes very highly recommended.

If you are not sure about what this ball looks like, or want to try it out, stop by the office and you can try mine.

The moral of the story is, the more we can do at home, the more we can protect our investments in the most important thing in the world …. you!

7 Things you Need to do to Get Ready for Winter

There is no way around it. The days are getting shorter and the temperature is falling. Winter is on it’s way.

While the shorter days are a bummer, no one says you cannot have fun in the winter.

Skiing, snow shoeing and outdoor paddle tennis are just a few of the fantastic winter activities available to us around here.

With that said, here are 7 things you can do to get yourself ready for some winter fun.

  1. Get your butt in gear. Most winter activities require a base of cardiovascular fitness. If you have let yourself go, get moving. Running, walking, elliptical are all great choices.
  2. Strength train your legs. Most winter sports require tremendous leg strength. See your personal trainer or ask me for advice on good leg exercises.
  3. Stretch. Let’s get some length into those muscles. Especially leg, butt and back muscles.
  4. Hydrate. One of the leading issues in my office is dehydration. Dehydration leads to tight muscles, tight muscles lead to injuries.
  5. Work on your core. The better condition your core is in, the better you can handle all that winter throws at you. Not sure where to start? See your personal trainer or ask me when you come into the office.
  6. Take a look at your equipment. Properly maintained equipment is huge in terms of injury prevention. Please do not wait until you get to the slopes to find out your binding is broken on your ski.
  7. Visit your favorite chiropractor! Honestly, what did you think I was going to say! In all seriousness, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The first few weeks of the winter season always brings a rash of patients that have hurt themselves doing activities they haven’t done in 8+ months. Keep these 7 tips in mind to give yourself the best shot at staying injury free.

See you outside!

 

Contest of the Month

It is contest time!

First off, our last contest was won by Bill B of Acton.

This month we are playing for a $25 gift card to Eastern Mountain Sports on Route 2A in Acton.

Seeing as how the winter months are coming up, today’s contest will involve our favorite topic, snow!

As always please hit the comment button below to answer the questions and be entered for the $25 gift card.

  1. How much snow does 1″of rain make on average?
  2. There are three types of snow. The first is the snowflake, what are the other two?
  3. What is a cornice?

Best of luck with the contest and make sure to hit the comment button below to enter!

Caffeine in Peanut Butter!

I know this will make me a little off from the norm, however, I am not a huge fan of caffeine.

I know, I know, you need it to wake up, get through the day, etc.

I’m sorry I don’t buy it.

Like anything else, it all started so innocently. A small cup of coffee or tea with a friend and now we are a country full of caffeine addicts.

Don’t believe me?

20 years ago a cup of coffee was 8oz. Today if it is less than 16 oz people think there is something wrong with it.

Now I know that the government says that 3 to 5 coffees a day is just fine, as long as you don’t add sugar and cream to it.

Please do not get me started on energy drinks that are marketed to kids.

Ever tried not drinking caffeine for a few days? It is not pretty. Within hours of not having your expected caffeine, you will start to get a headache. Go a few more hours and the irritability will start to creep up.  Depression and lethargy soon follow.

Does this sound like something that is good for you? If you decided to stop drinking orange juice would you have the same reaction?

Now that I have, hopefully, made a case for consuming less caffeine, there is a new product on the market for our consumption.

Caffeine peanut butter!

Caffeine peanut butter’s suggested serving size of 2 tablespoons has 5 times more caffeine than a can of soda. (You did know that soda has caffeine right?!?)

It has twice the caffeine of Red Bull.

US Senator Charles Schumer is calling for the FDA to investigate the peanut butter. His worry is the health risk that it poses, especially to children.

If you have to have caffeine, please be very careful in what products you choose to get it from. You may be consuming way more than you think.

 

 

 

Some Common Sense on Bacon

BreakfastRemember when eggs caused high cholesterol?

Or eating late at night was going to make you fat?

The latest health scare craze is bacon.

Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) released a study that put bacon in the same cancer causing category as cigarrettes.

Yes, that is right, eating bacon is as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. Because that makes sense right?

Let’s take a look at the numbers behind the frenzy.

If you smoke cigarettes, your chance of getting lung cancer goes up 2500%. That’s a lot.

If you eat two slices of bacon everyday, your chance of getting colorectal cancer goes up 18%. That sounds like a lot.

Given the incidence of colorectal cancer runs around 5%, eating that bacon raises your chance to about 6%.

Look, I am not advocating that you eat bacon everyday. Let’s be sensible here.

While it is not OK to have a BLT everyday, having bacon every now and then is certainly nothing to stress about. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the anxiety over eating a few slices of bacon every now and then, is more damaging then eating the bacon.

I’ll see you at brunch!

6 Pieces of Health Advice For College Students

As the summer winds down and college students start heading back to school, I want to share some time tested health tips that will help students with their studies:

  1. Get Your Rest. School is hard. Trying to study, write papers, and pay attention in class is tough when you are exhausted. Try a short 20 minute nap in the middle of the day. It will get you hours of clarity later on in the day.
  2. Drink Water. Dehydration is huge. Rule of thumb is to drink half of your weight in ounces. That means a 150 pound male would need 75 ounces of water per day.
  3. Exercise. Keeping yourself fit helps your body run with more efficiency. More efficiency means less time getting homework done. Less time getting homework done is a good thing.
  4. Mix in a Salad. While the double cheesburger pizza with a side of Kung Pao Chicken sounds like a good idea at midnight, it is not. With that said, things do happen. Today’s college caf is like a gourmet restaurant. Make great use of the salad bar, your body and brain will thank you.
  5. Practice Good Posture. Take a look around the classroom. See all those people slumped over their desks? Do me a favor and give them my card, they will need me soon. Good posture gives you energy and brightens your mood. These are good things. Don’t sit all slumped over and whatever you do, do not spend all of your time looking down at your phone; hold that thing up a bit!
  6. Visit Your Favorite Chiropractor When Home. What did you expect me to tell you! In all seriousness, periodic spinal checkups can help keep little nagging issues from becoming major problems.

Lastly, and this is not a health tip, have fun. College is an incredible time to learn, explore and make life long friends. Get out there and enjoy it!

Contest of the Month

It is contest time!!!

Email or post the answers to these 3 questions for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Marshall’s Farm on Harrington Ave.

Question 1. What is the longest word in the dictionary. It is not what you think it is!

Question 2. Throw away the outside and cook the inside. The eat the outside and throw away the inside. What are you eating?

Question 3. What is the only part of the human body that cannot repair itself?

Good luck with the questions. Comment below or email the answers here!

Texting While Walking

Girl TextingWhile most of us are aware that you are not allowed to text and drive, a couple of new studies are now looking at the effect of texting while walking.

Did you know that London has put bumpers on light posts on city streets due to people walking into them while texting on their phones? How about text lanes on staircases at Utah Valley State. While the latter was done as a bit of a joke, this is actually becoming a serious issue.

While we understand the dangers of tripping, falling down stairs or walking into things, only until recently did we look at the effect texting and walking had on our posture and gait.

According to a study out of the University of Queensland, texting and walking alters not just your posture but also your balance. In their study they found that the subjects heads were assuming a flexed or tucked chin position. Anyone that has been in my office knows that I am an absolute nut about keeping your head from that flexed position.

Another study, this time at Texas A&M, looked at how we actually walk. They took participants and gave them three tasks: 1. Walk Normal 2. Walk while texting 3. Walk while texting and being distracted by a math problem.

Want to guess which of the scenarios produced slower walking, shorter strides, and an inability to walk in a straight line? Let me help you, it wasn’t the first one.

An altered gait can have severe consequences on your legs, hips and most importantly your spine.

As texting becomes more integrated in our lives, lets be smart about how and when we are doing it. Definitely not while driving and let’s give some consideration to limiting it while we are walking around.

Tech Neck

Tech neckWhen I observe my teen age children and their technology use, one thing hits me: The laptop may be close to obsolete. These kids today are using their cellphones for almost everything.

From email, to looking up directions, to perusing the menu of their favorite take-out place, the cell phone is now the primary screen and the laptop or desktop is now the secondary screen.

When I did a recent talk to a local company, I noticed the same thing. People were on their phones, a lot!

While this is awesome, as we are more mobile than ever, what is not awesome is what these devices are doing to our bodies.

Quick anatomy lesson. The most important area of your spine for general health is the neck area, also known as the cervical spine. The cervical spine houses the brain stem, start of the spinal cord, and the nerves that control your arms, head, and nervous system.

Through research we have discovered that the cervical spine, in order for it to function optimally, must have a curve in it. When this curve is present there is less stress on the nerves, spinal cord and ultimately the brain stem.

The issue with society going to a smaller, more mobile screen, is the position we put ourselves in to look at the screen. Watch a person use their phones or tablets and you will see a recurring pattern. Device is held down at their lap and the head is flexed forward so that the chin is practically touching their chest.

This posture takes the natural curve out of the spine and over long periods of time can cause a structural shift in the neck that can prove to be quite painful. Secondary conditions including neck pain, arm pain, carpal tunnel like wrist pain, numbness and muscle spasm are quite common.

What is not measurable is how much this pain slows you down. As any of us who have been in pain can attest to; you are definitely not at your optimal when you are hurting. If you lose even 10% of your energy due to dealing with this pain, what does that cost you in terms of business? If you are a student, what is it costing you in terms of grades?

The question that I get everyday in the office is how can we fix this? Here are some tips:

  • Do not keep device down by your belt line, hold it up higher, even with your shoulders.
  • Tuck your arms in against your body to take the stress off your shoulders and arms, bringing the device closer to you.
  • Take frequent breaks. Watching movies on your phone for long periods of time is a horrible idea.

If you are starting to experience pain in the arms, hands or neck, consider seeing someone that focuses on structural correction. If you do not know anyone near you, feel free to contact me and I will help you find someone.

Case of the Month April 2015

I have often said, both in the blog and office, that I have the best job on earth.

Recently I had a patient in the office that was hurting. Not only was their low back hurting, he looked like a pretzel as he was all twisted up.

After a thorough history and examination, I determined that he had a significant structural shift that was causing a whole host of secondary conditions. While the low back pain and leg pain were bothering him, it was the problem moving his bowels that was bothering him the most.

After the patient’s first visit, he walked out a little straighter than the when he walked in. While there was not an immediate decrease in pain, not unexpected, the patient was moving a little better.

The cool part is what happened two hours later.

The patient reported he had a bowel movement that, well let’s not get too graphic here, was slightly bigger than usual.

The bodies ability to heal itself never ceases to amaze me.

If we get the structure lined up and allow the body to do what it knows how to do, amazing things can and do happen.